Sep 16 2011: Apollo Lunar Mission Maps (NASA Documents, 1969 – 1973)

It’s hard not to be fascinated by the abstract qualities of both the superimposed line patterns on the lunar photographs in these maps, and the eccentric namings of features on those maps. In one (Lunar Map III in the gallery below) the planned mission moves from Doublet to Cone by way of Weird, while another (Lunar Map IV) passes around craters given names like Halo, Bench and Sharp. There’s a strange poetry in this, to the extent that the Descartes LRV Traverses plan (Lunar Map V) reads almost like a poem in its own right, with something of the quality of an estranged version of the shipping forecast:

North Ray. Smoky Mountain.

Kiva. Ravine.

Gator. Palmetto.

Flag. Spook.

Cove. Trap. Wreck. Stubby.

Stone Mountain.

Baby Ray. South Ray.

Measurements given in Kilometers.

Of course, the less said about the suggestiveness to be found in the Lunar Landing Mission Profile in the headline image above the better. Let’s just say that for anyone who spent far too many hours watching films starring Sid James and reading back-issues of Viz comic this map is absolute proof that the entire space programme, and all those billions of dollars spent by NASA, were not-so-secretly being used to draw a gigantic cock across our own little corner of the solar system.


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